Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Democrats' "Phony Scandal"

It's the nature of partisan politics to defend your side when a scandal emerges, but frankly, the Chicago pay-for-play allegations are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg for a presidential administration rooted in the corrupt Chicago patronage-machine cesspool.

Here's Digby blowing it off as a right-wing witchhunt:

I don't know if this environment is conducive to phony scandal. There's just so much going on. But if it is, this is one of the ways they do it. Guilt by association, drip-drip-drip of vague allegations and ongoing "questions." The key to really hammering it home, of course, would be for the Republicans to win back a majority in the congress in 2010, which I think is unlikely. The Republicans were growing in strength during that earlier era and are now in retreat, at least temporarily.

But keep this in the back of your mind. If there is room for scandal and the wingnuts can get traction, this is one of their tried and true methods of getting it "out there."
Of course, resort to comic relief is a sure sign that the scandal is damaging to Democratic power prospects next year. Check out this from Josh Marshall's reader:

I think you guys should do a Most Corrupt State smackdown. Maybe get CREW, POGO, ProPublica, and whoever else wants to help to cooperate. I think it's pretty clear that the only three serious contenders are Illinois, Louisiana, and Alaska. My money would be on the young upstart, Alaska, over the grizzled corruption veterans of Illinois and Louisiana, but who knows. Statistics should play a part in the contest, but style points are important, too. Cash in the freezer is pretty impressive, as is trying to shake down the President-Elect.
Now, back to reality: It turns out that Andy Stern, the new-age Big Labor roughneck, may have acted as a go-between for Blogojevich and the Obama tranistion team:

Among the revelations contained in the complaint brought against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday was the description of an official with the Service Employees International Union acting as an apparent intermediary between the governor and Barack Obama's camp in discussions over Obama's Senate seat.

The alleged role of the SEIU official was surprising, given that the union had not figured publicly in the investigation into Blagojevich (D). But on another level, the SEIU's apparent involvement is an indication of the extent to which it has, under the leadership of its ambitious and controversial president, Andrew L. Stern, become an omnipresent force in Democratic politics.

With organized labor holding such high expectations for the Obama administration -- notably, hopes for legislation fiercely opposed by business leaders that would make it easier to form unions -- officials of other unions were hoping yesterday that the SEIU's apparent involvement in the Illinois scandal would not undermine their cause in Washington.

The U.S. attorney's complaint states that Blagojevich mused aloud with his advisers about the possibility that he could seek a high-paying job with Change to Win, the coalition of seven unions -- dominated by SEIU -- that broke away from the AFL-CIO in 2005. Blagojevich and his chief of staff wondered aloud about a "three-way deal" in which he would appoint Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago businesswoman believed to be the woman identified in the complaint as "Candidate 1," to Obama's Senate seat; Blagojevich in return would become Change to Win's executive director; and Obama would reward Change to Win with pro-labor policies.

The complaint also states that on Nov. 12, Blagojevich spoke by phone with an "SEIU official" who was in Washington and with whom Blagojevich had met a week before on the understanding that the official was an emissary to discuss Jarrett's interest in the Senate seat. In the conversation, the SEIU official is alleged to have said that Obama now wanted Blagojevich to consider candidates other than Jarrett.
It's no surprise that big union bosses are in the middle of all of this. We're seeing a culture of corruption with no equal in American politics:

Democrats and the media can no longer rest on the old rationalization that Blago is an exception to the "we're cleaner than thou" rule. 2008 was the year of Democratic Reps. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Charlie "Sweetheart Deals" Rangel, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame "Text Me" Kilpatrick. It was the year Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson got caught stuffing bribes from an FBI informant down her shirt. It was the year 12 Democratic leaders and staffers in Pennsylvania's state Capitol were stung in a massive corruption scandal involving cash, sex and abuse of public office. And it was the year of multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandals at Democratic satellite offices of ACORN and the SEIU.

The Democrats have met the culture of corruption, and it looks like it ain't just elephants among the jackasses soiling public office.


The Vegas Art Guy said...

You forgot about Switzer in NY...

Anonymous said...

It took the equivalent of a nano-second to indict Ted Stevens, and Larry Craig, but Cold Cash Jefferson has yet to be indicted, and the cash was found over three years ago. Rangel's indiscretions with his finances, about a year. Explain please, why if there's an R next to your appointment, you are fairly rushed to judgement, but a D gets you a free pass, or a great deal of time to get your cronies to figure out a way to get you off.
And can anyone explain why the Chicago/Illinois machine let this crazy loon talk away his (and potentially theirs) future? Was it because they felt that with an Obama presidency, they'd get a sweet deal, or not get caught at all? What a pompous arrogant ass Roddy boy is, and his associates are equally as bad.

Gayle said...

I agree with Trish. I don't believe an honest person could even enter into Chicago politics let alone survive.

JR said...


Come on people we know that the real crime a Governor can commit is "trying to get a trooper fired"

The Vegas Art Guy said...

lol JR, I forgot if you have no morals to start with, then you don't view anything as illegal!

shoprat said...

Where there is power there is corruption which is why power must always be limited.

El Jefe Maximo said...

There's something missing here...I'm not figuring how Blagojevich could be so...oblivious. All these phone conversations? He's not stupid, else he would never have been elected Governor of Illinois; he's got to know Fitzgerald is out there. Unless the Chicago machine is completely asleep (unlikely) Blagojevich's intelligence crew must have had some idea what the Feds were interested in these days, even if he was in the dark about their efforts pointed at him. So why's this guy on the phone like nothing can happen to him? The Governor wasn't worried about Fitzgerald or his office. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Politics is legalized corruption. Why are we always surprised?

But I love being lectured on corruption by Republicans.

Anonymous said...

LOLOL! The lily white Democrats are you calling them? The Teddy Kennedys (or any of the other Kennedy's who have gotten away with, well, murderfor one thing) the Jeffersons, the Marion Barry's, etc, are they all above scrutiny?
You are such a jerk Tim. When a Republican goes bad, it's world wide news and the person is ultimately destroyed. When a Democrat goes bad, typically it gets swept under the rug, and he gets re-elected over and over.
So yeah, I for one am going to gloat just a little while the Dems squirm about this one. And I hope it is far reaching into Illinois' Democratic party, and they root out all of the crooks who run it's government.

Anonymous said...

Foley - R gets treated like a criminal for inappropriate e-mails. Gary Studds - D was barely censored for actually having gay sex with minor pages.

The list is endless.

Anonymous said...

Trish: I am still waiting for President Bush to condemn Tom DeLay. In fact, Bush offered him the use of Airforce One, said he was innocent, and supported him.

Don't make me go to the list of Republican scandals. It will break your ignorant little heart to hear how bad your team can be. You ever wonder what Jack Abramoff is up to these days? How many of your guys did he take down? I wonder if Bob Ney is dreaming of playing golf in Scotland again once he gets out of prison. Which I suspect will be the day Bush leaves office when all these dirtbags get pardoned.

I never said, for the record, that the dems are lilly white. Did I?

JBW said...

I don't often agree with Shoprat but what he said here about power and corruption is true. And anyone on either side of the aisle screaming about how the other side is so much worse is either a liar or a fool. Ignore the partisan hacks on both sides (and sorry Don but this includes you in the majority of your posts, to an extent) and you'll get some political commentary worth taking seriously.

And speaking of partisan hacks Trish, Stevens requested a speedy trial and Craig confessed his guilt when he was first arrested; getting your facts straight before you write something will keep you from sounding foolish in the future.

Anonymous said...

Tim, Do you know why Tom DeLay hasn't been charged? Because he's innocent. THREE grand jurys have dismissed the charges. THREE! But, Democrats are very good at demonizing their adversaries, especially when they are very good as Tom Delay was. In the meantime, we have elected a man for POTUS of whom we know NOTHING other than he doesn't answer questions, no matter how hard anyone tries and the MSM does not try at all! So, if Fitzgerald is brave enough to get to the bottom of it, it should be really, really interesting.

Anonymous said...

DeLay and the word innocent should never be used in the same sentence.

The guy is as corrupt as the best of the Chicago pols.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBW said...

Grace, by facts and sound reason do you mean blathering about our president-elect being a "TRAITOR" and "666 beast"? And how can you clearly see me "regularly ignore Donald's sound assessments"? I haven't commented regularly on this site in about a month.

I've said before that I consider Don a smart guy (I'd debate his status as an elite political commentator) which is why I have trouble squaring this with the often overly partisan rantings in his posts.

And since I'm not accusing you of "just saying that" because you agree with his political opinions I'm neither a pot nor you a kettle. I refer to myself as an intellectual elitist because I know how my IQ stacks up against the rest of the population and I get tired of explaining myself to the dullards of society (no offense).

Oh, and I don't consider Palin inferior based on my own political bias; I consider her a winking, incurious, anti-intellectual former beauty queen because she has proven herself so many times over, and it's a sad commentary on our political system that a woman as dull and transparent as she was able to attain such success in that arena.

But it's for those very reasons and more that people like yourself do take her seriously as a candidate, so I can understand why you bristle at the very thought of someone like me honestly assessing her intellectual prowess as anything less than stellar. As I've said before: please run her in 2012! With more than a few months to perform the vetting process McCain clearly failed to do this time around, I'm sure she will prove herself every bit the dolt I characterize her as. Now this is the part where you call me sexist again...

Anonymous said...

Nice, Tim refers to my "ignorant little heart" and JBW tells me I sound foolish, for a partisan hack. Such kindness towards strangers is so rare.

Let me explain to you ever so much more intelligent intellectuals, that I never said that Republican politicians are not at times just as guilty of scandalous and criminal behavior. I believe power corrupts, quite literally.

What I tried to say was that the Democrats seem to get away with their behaviors far more often, while Republicans typically pay dearly for whatever they did. ie losing their position and or going to jail. This is the extent of partisanship in my comments. That the one bad group gets off easier then the other.

But I do in fact thank you for pointing out that my opinion and arguments, shabby and uninformed as they are, are of no value here, and I should hang up the old blog commenting shoes.

Hope you libs all have a great 4 years!

JBW said...

Trish, sorry if I hurt your delicate feelings, sweetheart; I only meant that you sound foolish when you say foolish things. And I notice that you ignored the very point I was making in relation to your foolish statements about Stevens and Craig but hey, feeling sorry for yourself is more fun, right?

I hear what you're saying about Democrats seeming to get away with more wrongdoing because it relates directly to what I was saying about partisan hackery: there are crooks on both sides of the aisle and plenty of corruption to go around but the fact that you insist that your side is prosecuted to such a greater extent speaks directly to your own hackery.

I know the truth hurts but it's only by embracing it that you'll ever make any progress in life. Good luck with that.